Jags DL lands near bottom of PFF rankings

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Part of the Jacksonville Jaguars’ offseason plans was to bolster their defensive line. They did that by signing Folorunso Fatukasi and Arden Key in free agency. Then in the draft, they selected an edge defender with the No. 1 overall pick in Travon Walker.

Despite that, Pro Football Focus ranked them at the No. 28 spot in their defensive line rankings. That put the Jags in the last tier of their rankings (Tier 6), which is the area where they placed the units with multiple question marks on the line.

Here is what PFF analyst Ben Linsey had to say about the Jags’ placement on the list.

28. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS

Jacksonville has invested a lot of resources into the edge defender position with first-round picks spent on Josh Allen, K’Lavon Chaisson and Travon Walker in the last four offseasons. However, Walker was drafted No. 1 overall for his rare, physical traits and not his track record of college production. It remains to be seen how much he can add as a rookie at a position where both production and athleticism matter when projecting to the NFL.

The other big addition to a defensive front that ranked 30th in PFF grade in 2021 was Folorunso Fatukasi. The 318-pound defensive tackle was one of the position’s best run defenders across the 2019 and 2020 seasons but took a step back with the Jets last year (57.3 PFF run-defense grade).

PFF had Aidan Hutchinson ranked as their top player in the draft, so they were higher on him than Walker, which explains some of their reasoning for placing the Jags so low.

However, the Jags’ defense could surprise some people because of the division they are in and their structure. The additions they made should bolster the unit against the run, which is what the AFC South is all about.

In a division with Derrick Henry and Jonathan Taylor, the Jags knew they needed to bolster their unit against the run after the defense was 23rd against the rush. As a result, they signed Fatukasi to help in that department. Walker is another player who could help them tremendously there, too.

As for the returning players, the team will have Josh Allen back, whose 78.5 grade was good for 18th out of 108 edge defenders. Notables Roy Robertson-Harris, Adam Gotsis, DaVon Hamilton, Malcom Brown, and Dawuane Smoot will also be returning and could improve after spending last season together.

The Jags’ defense finished 20th overall last season, and that likely would’ve been better if they weren’t ranked as a bottom nine team against the run. However, if their unit at least improves against the rush as they should, while Allen and Walker put a decent amount of heat on the quarterback, the defensive line will be significantly better than PFF is predicting.

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